Featured Journal

Say my name, say my name.

Written by Carrie Christensen

We’ve been married for over five months now. I’m still Carrie Christensen. Right after people ask if I’m pregnant yet (NO!!!!), the inevitable next question is “are you changing your name?” Truth is, I am torn like Natalie Imbruglia on the issue (how many 90s references can I fit into this post?) Change the name or keep it? Lucky for me, I have a sweet husband who’s totally supportive either way. Here’s where the pros/cons list stands at the moment. U

Unsolicited advice is welcome… though I suppose that makes it solicited advice.

CONS:

It’s a huge hassle.

First and foremost. Social security card, driver’s license, bank accounts, passport, email addresses, insurance, business cards…We gals have it rough. That’s a lot of lines to stand in and a lot of phone calls to make. Ain’t nobody got time for that. One point for the nay side.

I’m the only child.

For the last twenty-seven years I’ve been Carrie Christensen. C-squared. I’ve always liked my name and I’ve always liked sharing a name with my parents. Even though I’m terrible at sharing. I’m a bratty only child, after all. There are certainly others in my extended family that will pass the Christensen name on to their offspring, but my name is a huge part of my identity and it signifies my relationship to my parents… least that’s the way I see it.

I’m a feminist.

And I’m sure many of you are too, including those that adopted their partners’ names the day they said “I do.”  But I struggle with this one. It’s old school. Maybe even outdated. It’s tradition, but there are a whole lot of stupid traditions. Is this one of them? I don’t know.

 

PROS:

We might have kids.

Calm down, Mom and Dad. Did you even read the first paragraph? NOT PREGNANT. But it might happen. Do I want to have a different last name from the rest of my family?

New names are fun.

Carrie Malek-Madani is a cool name too. It’s memorable (once you figure out how to pronounce it). Plus, I get to completely redevelop my signature. One point for Gryffindor.

We’re a team.

That’s what marriage is all about and all teams have a name. For the same reasons sharing a name with my parents is significant, sharing a name with my husband would be too.

 

I know there are alternatives. I could change my last name to my middle name, but then I would have to give up my middle name. A name I share with my great grandmother, grandmother, and mom. Hyphenation is not even an option: Carrie Christensen-Malek-Madani. You must be joking.

I can’t be the only one out there who feels/felt conflicted about this, right?

RIGHT?!

wedding day

About the author

Carrie Christensen

Hi, I’m Carrie! I reside in the lovely Lincoln, Nebraska with my husband Gunnar, cat Mr. Bibbs, and dog Brodie. We are new to Nebraska, hailing from Colorado, originally from the Midwest, and happy as clams to be back in the land of four seasons. When I’m not blogging you can find me working at my dream job at the Lied Center for Performing Arts, cooking vegetarian food, traveling, bicycling and canoeing… at the same time! Glad you’re here!

9 Comments

  • It took me a year to change my name and do all the paperwork… I just wasn’t ready. And then for the first 5 years, I’d introduce myself and then tell people my maiden name. I, too, didn’t want to drop my middle name. Totally get all of it and think it’s clearly your choice:).
    We have “repurposed” names in the form of giving our firstborn the middle name that is my husband’s middle name… Our second-born has my middle name (although it’s Brooks instead of Brooke) and then our third has my maiden name as his middle name.
    Great post C squared! I dig.

  • I was so conflicted about this too. I loved my maiden name of Kenyon, a lot. I was never ever going to change it ever. And then I met my husband and he had a last name he hated, so he changed it to Maeser before we got married. He had to got through even more hassle than I did to legally change his name. Like hire a lawyer and go to court to tell a judge why he was changing it. So we started our own legacy with a brand new name together. I could get on board with that, even if I really do miss being Kelly Kenyon sometimes. 😉

  • It took me a year to change my name too. I was mourning the loss of my full name so much that I decided not to change it and just tack on my new last name. So I have all four names on my social security card and my driver’s license. I joke with my husband that I’m just going to keep racking on names with every subsequent marriage. Just how many names can one social security card hold?

  • I changed my name because I wanted us to represent a family unit for our children. Professionally I use my maiden name and married last name because I own a business in my hometown and people will recognize my maiden name. Christensen could make a cool first name for a (some day) baby!

  • I kept my maiden name when I got married the second time. I had changed it back after the divorce, and after two hassles (change for 1st marriage and then go back) I decided enough was enough. Besides, there was another woman living at the time with the very same name in the area had I taken his name. My kids had different names because they had their father’s name. However, there are times when my husband is assumed to have MY last name! That’s funny…and he has a great sense of humor about it! I’d say…keep the name you want!